Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6¼ x 9½
978-1-4422-3288-4 • Hardback • February 2016 • $47.00 • (£36.00)
978-1-4422-3289-1 • eBook • February 2016 • $44.50 • (£34.00)
Andrea Broomfield is a culinary historian and an English professor at Johnson County Community College. She is the author of Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History (2007) and writes extensively about the Victorian era.
Series Foreword, by Ken Albala
Preface: Kansas City: The Nation’s Hospitality Crossroads
1: “Here Stands a City Built O’ Bread and Beef”: Kansas City’s Natural and Material Resources
2: Prehistoric and Native American Foodways of the Kawsmouth Region
3: The Old World Meets the New
4: Contributing to Kansas City’s Greater Good: Immigrants and their Food Traditions
5: African American Contributions and Kansas City’s Southern Traditions
6: Kansas City Markets and Groceries
7: “Kansas City, Here I Come”: Historic Restaurants at America’s Crossroads, 1860s-1970s
8: Kansas City Home Cooks and Home-Grown Festivals
9: We’ve Grown Accustomed to These Tastes: Kansas City’s Signature Dishes
About the Author
Kansas City, Mo., home to Charlie Parker and the strains of modern jazz, also rests at the culinary crossroads of America, as culinary historian Broomfield observes in this straightforward survey, part of the Big City Food Biography series. The city is located in the fertile Central Plain, where the soil is ideal for cultivating grain and producing fields of grass where cattle can graze. Broomfield’s tale of the life of food in the region begins with the earliest contributions of native tribes such as the Kaw, and their cultivation of maize and squash. Prior to the Civil War, Kansas City’s food reflected the cuisine of the South, including beaten biscuits, pies, gumbos, fried chicken, and catfish. In the 19th century, a number of immigrant groups helped shape the city’s cuisine with Mexican tamales and chilis, German beer, Swiss confections, and Italian minestrone and pastas. Broomfield offers a brief history of many of the markets and groceries that helped establish Kansas City as a center of culinary hospitality, such as the E. Whyte Grocery, Fruit & Wine Company; Wolferman’s Grocery; and the City Market. Broomfield’s guidebook also includes an overview of Kansas City’s signature dishes (with recipes), such as Myron Green’s cinnamon rolls and Harvey’s Westport Room Chicken Maciel. Readers will enjoy this entertaining, in-depth look at the foods that have made Kansas City famous.
— Publishers Weekly
The latest in the Big City Food Biography series examines the culinary contributions made by the center of the heartland’s bread basket, Kansas City. Broomfield’s research is meticulous and balanced. She notes that Kansas City straddles a state line historically and culturally and pays equal attention to both sides. This is not a book for the casual cook looking for gastronomic descriptions and recipes. Her prose is engaging and lively, even though not an ingredient, restaurant, cook, or restaurateur detail goes unmentioned. Serious chefs and foodies will appreciate the history behind the Midwest’s melting pot of cuisines and the people who made Kansas City’s signature dishes burnt ends, KC strip, and green rice casserole—the mainstays of hearty Kansas City fare. Of particular interest is the chapter on 'African American Contributions and Kansas City’s Southern Traditions.' Readers will be fascinated by the ways music influenced restaurants in Kansas City’s jazz age. A worthy addition to all collections serving the serious chef.
[T]he African-American chapter [is] particularly fascinating, [since] many of Kansas City’s jazz and barbecue joints [were] among the first establishments to be racially integrated.
— The Kansas City Star
Kansas City: A Food Biography ... digs deep into the unexpectedly bountiful story of Kansas City foodways. With a longtime local's wealth of experience and an academic's depth of interests, Broomfield ... opens with a vivid description of the plentiful food and hospitality that have become trademarks of pregame tailgate parties outside Arrowhead Stadium.... With welcome detail, Broomfield explains native cultures' expansion of hunting, cooking and farming across centuries, as well as taste trends.... Kansas City is hardly unique in boasting a rich and proud culinary heritage. But Broomfield's brilliant mix of food's rich narrative and the region's historical stages makes us feel especially blessed to dine within a crossroads where rich resources and creative people combined forces to create so much good food.
— Kansas Alumni Magazine
Joining others (not seen by this reviewer) in the 'Big City Food Biographies' series is a survey of dining and food in Kansas City, a town well known for both its music and its barbecue. Readers who plan a trip to Kansas City or who want to know more of its culinary history will appreciate the focus on how its foods evolved and how the town's growth led it to develop unique dishes and special Midwestern flavors. It should be noted that Kansas City: A Food Biography is no light coverage: anticipate a college-level reader that includes discussions of Kansas City's evolving culture, politics, social atmosphere, and immigrant influences: all of which contributed to the region's culinary heritage.
— Donovan's Bookshelf
Kansas City: A Food Biography is perhaps the best brief survey of Kansas City foodways and history—the two completely intertwined—in print.... With excellent footnotes and bibliography, along with a discussion of markets and restaurants past and present, all set in physical and cultural environments, this is an excellent guide to what makes Kansas City worthy of a full-fledged food biography.
— Missouri Historical Review
In Kansas City: A Food Biography, Andrea Broomfield provides the reader with a rich and engaging portrait of the evolution of a truly unique culinary scene. Combining robust historical documentation with keen insights into social, cultural, economic and political contexts, she highlights the dynamic development of foodways in a quintessential crossroads setting. In the process we learn important lessons about what food has meant to the generations of diverse peoples who have made it their home.
— Stephen Wooten, PhD, Associate Professor of International Studies & Anthropology, Director of the Food Studies Program, University of Oregon
Many of us know that Kansas City is one of the best places in the world to eat and drink—burnt ends, a Kansas City strip, and a Boulevard is about as good as life gets. Fewer know how Kansas City became the place to be. In Kansas City: A Food Biography, Andrea Broomfield weaves together an impressive collection of primary sources and previous writing on the topic to tell the compelling story of the struggles and richness, from prehistoric times through today, of how people continue to come—and celebrate—this midwestern gastropolis.
— Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, Professor of Culinary Arts and Food Science
Food culture in the U.S. has been co-opted by quick service and processed foods; Broomfield's book is an important contribution to our attempts to discover what Kansas City tastes like. She does an excellent job of researching not only the native foods of the city but also the ones that arrived here "in the pockets" of the immigrants who built this city. She also thoroughly documents how the peoples of Kansas City used those foods to build a strong culture of food-tied-to-place in our town.
— Aaron Prater, a culinary professor at Johnson County Community College and co-owner of the Sundry Market & Kitchen (in Kansas City, Missouri)
And interesting and authoritative book. Well worth reading! A real pleasure!
— Joseph William (Bill) Gilbert, founding member of the Gilbert-Robinson Restaurant Group